Finding the Sagebrush Violet April 3, 2007

Maupin, Wasco County, OR: My son, Chris, and I decided to give finding the Sagebrush Violet another attempt. As we left Gresham on US 26 we could see Mount Hood glistening white with a fresh coat of snow. Road signs warned travelers to carry chains or traction devices but the season for studded tires has past. Undeterred we forged ahead. We planned to turn onto highway 35 (Mt Hood Loop Highway) near Government Camp then turn east on highway 48 toward Wamic but we found the road blocked with snow. Evidently the road department doesn’t plow this road in winter, letting the snow melt slowly.

After backtracking to US 26 we continued east toward Maupin and then continued south on highway 197 toward Madras. Chris was pointing out flowers roadside but I wasn’t seeing them. We pulled over at a turnout to take a look. What he was seeing was a common species of phlox but what gave me a start was the very flower we were looking for… the Sagebrush Violet (Viola trinervata)!!! We called Marvin on the cell phone to gloat. We made many more stops but didn’t find any more of the violets. I’d rather be lucky than skillful any day.

Sagebrush Violet
Sagebrush violet (Viola trinervata) Maupin 4/3/2007


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